30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

For Me the Story of Religion Goes Like This

by The Next Family April 12, 2011

By: Tanya Ward Goodman



For me the story of religion goes like this: I was baptized in the Episcopal church, but we rarely attended a service.  Instead, my parents told me that if I wanted to talk to God, I should go into the woods and sit on a rock and talk to him (or more likely, her).  Once I dated a Baptist and he told me that although he loved me, it was very likely I would go to hell anyway.  My husband is Jewish but only on his father’s side, which is to say, not really, but he identifies with Jewish and his father is certainly Jewish and we all like corned beef and knishes, but also Christmas trees.

My kids went to a Jewish pre-school where I served on the board of directors for five years.  I can make a mean brisket and I will happily eat apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah (or any other time of the year).  I love the idea of Tikkun Olam, which means “repairing the world”.  I also like hiding Easter eggs, and the concept of Resurrection certainly makes for a great story.

I am raising my children with stories and traditions from all religions and none.  I am reading them poetry and taking them on hikes and encouraging them to sit on their own rock and talk to their own god.  Recently, we took them to see Romeo and Juliet.  Sitting in the darkened theatre, stealing glances at their enraptured faces, I felt what it must feel to be in church.  I felt grateful to be in the company of so many silent individuals, all of us engaged and thoughtful and listening.  I felt enlightened not only by the beauty of Shakespeare’s language, but also by bearing witness to a kind of awakening within my children.  They were seeing this play for the first time.  They didn’t yet know the ending, they were letting the story unfold in all its passion and mystery and darkness.  Their discovery was inspiring.  Even though they didn’t understand every word, they felt the weight of the story.  They were moved.

In my yoga class, I sometimes feel this way.  I stand on my mat in the company of so many others, reaching and bending and using my muscles and my mind.  My instructor asks us to “open our hearts, to move toward grace.”  She asks us to imagine our own grace.  Is it the way we move through the world? The way we treat others? The way we treat ourselves?  These are questions asked in any church, in any gathering of the silent and listening.  These are the questions I ask my children.  I make a religion of it.  How are we going to move through the world with grace?  With hope?  With love?  How can we be kindest to others and to ourselves?

We make food, we read stories, we gather together and we listen.


The post For Me the Story of Religion Goes Like This appeared first on The Next Family.

The Next Family
The Next Family


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Parenting

Modern Fitness For the Modern Parent

by The Next Family March 25, 2016


Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian

By Laura King

Life can get busy. With work, kids, family commitments, friends, chores, and the general chaos of everyday life, it can be near impossible at times to sit down for a cup of tea, let alone squeeze in an hour of exercise regularly. However, all things are possible if you set your mind to them. Those that prioritize their fitness nearly...

Continue Reading →

Estate Planning: The Basics For LGBT Families

by The Next Family March 25, 2016

With the passage of marriage equality last year, laws have been quickly changing across the United States. LGBT couples with or without children weren’t just given the right of marriage, they were provided new protections and benefits within their families. All of a sudden, LGBT couples and families had to figure out how to file jointly when it came to taxes, how to add...

Continue Reading →

Representation of Modern Families in Kid-Friendly Entertainment

by The Next Family March 24, 2016 1 Comment


By Alex Temblador

I recently wrote an article for The Next Family called, “Family-Friendly Films That Feature Adoption and Foster Care,” that shared wonderful family films with adoption or foster care story lines. My reasoning behind doing so was because every family deserves a chance to see similar families like theirs represented in various forms of entertainment.

The same can be said of other...

Continue Reading →